Long-term volunteers - There is a great need for trained physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists to work at CRP. If coming for a longer period (six months or more), it would be desirable to have at least two years' post graduate experience. The need is greatest in the Bangladesh Health Professions Institute where experience therapists are required to train students and supervise placements. Lecturing experience is not required and all courses are taken in English. Student placements are located in CRP, hospitals in Dhaka and elsewhere in Bangladesh.
Other professionals are also encouraged to work as volunteers at CRP. Examples of other professional posts are Bio-medical Scientist or Radiologist.
Short-term volunteers work in any department at CRP. Usually, a volunteer will have special interests or skills which lead him or her to work in a specific area. However, the need to be flexible and use one's initiative is very important. For prospective short-term volunteers it should be stressed that there are very many mundane tasks to be done at CRP. The joy of working at CRP comes not from the task itself, but rather, from the reason for performing that task.
Five days a week there are sports activities for patients in the afternoon. This is popular among volunteers who help organising different games, and often participate themselves. Activities include wheelchair basketball, archery, darts and skittles.
There are two categories of volunteer: long-term volunteers, who often come to work at their chosen profession e.g. physiotherapists, and short-term volunteers, who perform a wide variety of jobs. Long term volunteers: 6 months or more
Secure accommodation on CRP premises is provided at minimal cost for the duration of a volunteer's stay at CRP. For short-term volunteers this will be in the CRP Guest House where there are single or double rooms. Double rooms will usually be shared with another volunteer. Shared cooking facilities and bathroom are available on both floors of the Guest House. If staying for more than six months at CRP there are flats to rent on the premises. Again, these will usually be shared with other volunteers. Conditions in both the Guest House and the flats are basic by European standards. Electricity and cold running water are provided. Meals can be ordered for a minimal cost. Most volunteers order lunch and make their own dinner and breakfast.
As with many southern countries, there is little awareness in Bangladesh of disability, its causes and consequences. Many 'traditional' views on the subject still prevail, especially in rural settings. Disability is often seen as a curse from God, inflicted as retribution for the sins of the disabled person's parents. Many believe that disability is infectious and that having a disabled person in the house will bring on an 'evil wind' after which others will be infected with this condition.
CRP originally began its operation in 1979 from two cement storerooms in the grounds of the Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital, Dhaka. The size and complexity of the current CRP-Savar centre, establishment of the 9 additional CRP sub-centers across Bangladesh and the extensive range of high quality services now provided to Persons with Disabilities, exemplify the progress made by CRP in this, the anniversary of its 35th year of operation.
The services we provide throughout our 10 CRP centres:
Speech and Language Therapy
Prosthetics and Orthotics
Appropriate Paper-based Technology (APT)
and Counseling services.
Excursions to places of interest are often arranged for volunteers, either with patients, staff or as a group of volunteers. To help prospective volunteers get a realistic idea of what living and working at CRP is really like, we have compiled a selection of reports from returned volunteers.